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HEFCE Review of MFL Provision: where now … ? Professor Michael Worton, Vice-Provost, UCL. Review of Modern Languages provision. Commissioned by HEFCE in response to concerns in the sector about falling numbers and funding provision

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Hefce review of mfl provision where now professor michael worton vice provost ucl

HEFCE Review of MFL Provision: where now…?Professor Michael Worton, Vice-Provost, UCL


Review of modern languages provision
Review of Modern Languages provision

  • Commissioned by HEFCE in response to concerns in the sector about falling numbers and funding provision

  • Recommendations aim to ensure the long-term sustainability and vitality of MFL provision in HE


Contents of the report
Contents of the Report

SECTION 1Explores the contexts in which MFL is currently operating

- financial

- political

- educational

SECTION 2Quantitative data from a range of sources (HESA; UCAS; HEFCE; AHRC)

- Stresses that the overall picture conceals many individual differences for individual languages

  • SECTION 3Consultation with the sector

  • Research funding greatest source of anxiety;

  • MFL colleagues must persuade their institutions of their importance


Findings
Findings

  • Within the community, there are different perspectives on and different views of the future

  • Evidence is that there has been and continues to be substantial investment in languages activities

  • Universities and the MFL community must develop a clear and compelling identity for modern foreign languages


Findings1
Findings

  • Government must translate its expectations of language learning in primary and secondary schools into targets which are monitored and met

  • Pro-active dialogue at senior university level with government and stakeholders about the ways in languages teaching and research can respond to current and future challenges is now vital


The recommendations
The recommendations

1. MFL departments, Language Centres, LLAS and CILT should work together to promote a clear and compelling identity for MFL

2. Vice-Chancellors should be encouraged to understand the several functions of languages at university within the context of the strategic mission

3. Universities should use their Learning and Teaching strategies and admissions policies to demonstrate the importance they place on MFL

4. VCs should provide support to MFL departments and Language Centres to allow them to develop together in the context of the strategic mission


The recommendations1
The recommendations

5. Departments should ensure their programmes and courses are appropriate for the global 21st century - both in terms of content and modes of delivery

6. Language departments should go beyond outreach and WP activities to work with schools to develop a languages curriculum for the 21st century

7 and 8. MFL departments should work more proactively on skills development and careers guidance to ensure this is an integral part of every programme

9. Universities must address any tensions that exist between departments and language centres to ensure parity of esteem and a culture of collaboration


The recommendations2
The recommendations

10. The importance of contextualised language learning should be recognised by the appointment of and CPD for highly-trained specialist language teachers

11. Departments should work to attract greater numbers to postgraduate study in languages, including through strategically-chosen research specialisms


The recommendations3
The recommendations

12. A forum should be set up to formulate clear, coherent messages about languages and to develop a communication strategy

13. HEFCE and DCSF should continue to fund Routes into Languages beyond 2009-10

14. The AHRC, ESRC and HEFCE should give serious consideration to a second phase of Language-based Area Studies Centres

15. The AHRC should consider the creation, through a national competitive process, of a network for doctoral training centres / training units


The recommendations4
The recommendations

16. HEFCE should commission a study of teaching hours and outcomes in languages using different writing systems than those using Roman script

17. The DCSF should consider changing its 2006 ‘expectation’ for numbers learning languages post-14 into a mandatory target, monitored by OFSTED


Where are we now
Where are we now?

  • David Lammy, Minister for HE and Intellectual Property, and Diana Johnson, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools to co-Chair the Forum on Modern Languages.

  • HEFCE is taking forward the recommendation of a Review of Teaching Hours and Outcomes in Languages, using different writing systems than those using Roman script.

  • HEFCE to evaluate the success of existing investments in ‘Routes into Languages’ and Language-Based Area Studies.

  • AHRC will soon develop their Collaborative Research Training Scheme with a targeted call for applications addressing Training Needs in Language Skills.

  • Several universities are considering using their Learning and Teaching Strategies as a means of promoting languages, intercultural awareness and global citizenship.


Ways forward
Ways forward

  • University education in the 21st century needs to be much broader and more interdisciplinary

  • Skills development needs to be ‘rehabilitated’ from its association with ‘vocational training’

  • Intercultural awareness/global citizenship will become ever more important

  • In all developing economies, education is seen as vital, with universities at the heart of national vision and planning

  • In the UK, however, there has as of 2009 been a different message…

Only by working together in an interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral way can we make significant progress


Professor Michael Worton

Fielden Professor of French Language and Literature

Vice-Provost (Academic & International)

[email protected]

Front slide image used under creative commons licence: www.flickr.com/photos/alisdair/610289/


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